The Washington congressional delegation and outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar attended a ceremony to designate the Wing Luke Museum as a historic site Sunday.
The event took place on the lunar New Year, a special day for many Asian cultures.
Museum staff bestowed Hawaiian leis of Kakui nuts on the special guests, Vietnamese youth performed a traditional lion dance, and the event ended with a Buddhist ceremony called Daruma.
The museum’s executive director, Beth Takekawa, brought out two Daruma, red doll heads the size of football helmets with white circles for eyes.
“At the start of a new venture, you paint in one eye. And you make your wish. After your wish is fulfilled, then the other eye is painted in. So it’s fitting today that we make wishes for the start of our new journey together,” said Takekawa. “We have two Daruma, so one will stay here at the Wing and one will go with the National Park Service.”
But this new venture with the National Park Service does not mean immediate funding for the museum. US Congressman Jim McDermott says the federal status will give them just that, status.
The Wing Luke Museum is now a part of a national network of historical sites with greater access to publicity and private grants.
Other affiliated areas include New York City’s Tenement Museum and the Benjamin Franklin National Monument.